UOC hierarch takes part in the UN Forum on Protection of Minority Rights

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka. Photo: news.church.ua

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) said that the UN Forum discussed issues of protection of the rights of ethnic, national and religious communities around the world.

On December 2-3, 2021, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka, the Head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations, took part in the 14th session of the UN Forum on Minorities, according to the UOC Information and Education Department.

The event was held in a mixed (face-to-face and remote) format at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, with the participation of President of the Human Rights Council Najat Shamim Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Rights Fernand de Varennes, representatives of delegations of UN member states and OSCE human rights and public organizations.

The forum discussed issues of protection of the rights of minorities in different regions of the world and developed recommendations that will be sent to the bodies of the international legal mechanism for further work.

The UOC hierarch joined the meeting online. He concluded that the participants highlighted the significant problems of protecting the rights of ethnic, national and religious communities in the modern world. Among other things, they said that many countries had enacted laws being openly discriminatory.

"Unfortunately, Ukraine is no exception in this respect due to the pending problem of the so-called ‘law on the renaming’ of religious organizations of the UOC," said Bishop Victor. "The international image of Ukraine is also negatively affected by the numerous facts of the lack response from law enforcement agencies to the statements of believers about the crimes committed against them."

At present, he added, the international mechanism had already recognized the fact of violation of the rights of UOC believers by several decisions, which is a positive trend.

In particular, the decision of the 132nd session of the UN Human Rights Committee of November 11, 2021 formulated a clear requirement for the State of Ukraine not only to investigate crimes committed against religious communities and its members, but also to protect places of worship from violence, intimidation and acts of vandalism.

In this regard, the leadership of the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine should immediately pay attention to the international resonance caused by violations of the rights of believers of the UOC, and take all necessary measures to remedy the situation. This is not about de-jure consideration of applications from believers, but about de-facto counteraction to violent clashes around churches and the prevention of any signs of discrimination and hatred against the UOC.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) reported the violation of the UOC believers’ rights at the UN Forum.

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